The Breath Builder is a self-teaching device. Its
primary lesson is the effortless, complete exchange of
air at either end of the breath, without any holding or
physical tension. It is a visual aid for learning the
concept of breath support and also aids improvement of
breathing efficiency and of lung capacity.
by the late bassoonist Harold Hansen of Las Vegas,
Nevada, the Breath Builder is a translucent plastic
cylinder closed on the bottom with 3 holes on top and a
ping-pong ball inside. The 3 holes and the 2
accompanying plastic tubes with different diameters can
be used to control resistance to your air movement. The
object is to keep the ping-pong ball at the top of the
cylinder while blowing into the Breath Builder and also
while sucking the breath back through the device. The
air is always moving in or out, never stopping. Very
simply, if the blowing is steady and the breath
exchanges well, the ping-pong ball stays at the top of
the plastic cylinder.
Benefits of the Breath Builder
A common musical benefit is increased phrase length.
Proper use of the Breath Builder permits full exchange
of oxygen in each breath; revitalizing cells and
facilitating clear thinking and promoting good health.
Tips for Use of the Breath Builder:
I suggest using the larger tube. The smaller one tends
to increase physical tension. Begin by blowing into the
tube to raise the ping-pong ball to the top of the
plastic cylinder. Once you have mastered this, while the
ping-pong ball is at the top, try sucking the air back
through the tube without letting the ball drop.
Blow from the front of your mouth. Try to release the
air from your lips. Be careful not to overdo. Begin with
one or two exchanges of air.
Try sucking the air back from the tube and then
performing a task; play or sing a phrase or execute some
other physical action while you release the breath you
just sucked throughout the tube.
Be sure the sternum does not compress as you blow into
the machine. This causes unnecessary tension and
inefficient release of the breath. Allow your spine to
lengthen as you release each breath.
Caution: Avoid repeating this process until becoming
dizzy. Stop immediately if you feel dizzy and rest until
the feeling passes. While learning to use the breath
builder, please sit down.